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Seniors have advice for Class of 2012

Posted: June 4, 2012 - 10:55am

As the graduating class of 2012 gets ready for their next step, there are some central Kenai Peninsula residents who have some words of wisdom for them.

"You always leave a memory no matter what," Ed Martin, 80, said. "Now the question is what type of memory do you want to leave? Do you want to leave a good memory or a bad one?"

Al Chong, a 1962 graduate from St. Louis Catholic High School in Hawaii, thinks that graduates should be careful on what career path they choose.

"Graduating from high school and planning on college is a great thing," Chong said. "But if you look at the amount of people that are going to college and end up working at McDonald's after they graduate, it's (not good)."

Chong advised to learn a trade prior to going to college.

"Get into the trades, get into a trade school and get out there and get a job, then you're hireable," he said. "You've got something behind you."
George Parks agreed with Chong's advice.

"We have a niece who graduated, has her doctorate degree and can not find a job," Parks, 69, said.

Parks said one of the reasons his niece can't find a job is that employers can't afford to hire employees with a high-level degree.

"They can't hire you on if (the employee) has a master's degree, you have to hire them on the pay scale," Parks said.

Chong said high school graduates should open their eyes to the world around them.

"I think through high school a lot of them have not paid very much attention to anything," he said. "Get involved with world affairs, get educated in what's happening in the world. It will help you with your skills in getting jobs, with interviews and things like that."

Park's wife, Estelle, said good work habits are important for the real world.

"Even if it's, let's say, a fast food place," Parks, 73, said. "That type of thing where if you have a job you better have good work habits if you want to keep going."

John Jones, a 1956 graduate from Camas High School in Washington, thought back to what his mother told him when he was out of high school and thinking about going to college.

"She said, 'Whatever you decide to do, just make sure it is something that's going to serve others,'" Jones said. "I ended up in the teaching field and when I felt like when you give something to others, I think that really helps you."

Morris Breed obtained his GED in 1956 after he returned from his tour of duty in Korea in order to go in to forestry.

"I went to the school principal and he said, 'Everybody else got theirs the hard way, and so are you,'" Breed, 81, said. "I was supposed to graduate in '48."

Breed said he was older than some of his teachers.

"They called me Mr. Breed," he said.

Breed said no matter what the job is, there can be enjoyment.

"I never hated my job," he said. "I had a job, maybe it was a horrible job, but it's the people I worked with and we enjoyed each other's company.

"And to me, that's the key. Some people just hate to work, but to me, that was a pleasure and I think it's an honor."

Breed said it's human nature to want to be working.

"We weren't made to do nothing. So physical labor, being honest, being faithful to your job and do the job right," Breed said. "I mean, those are important things regardless what you're doing."

Chong said he doesn't think young people should rely on dreams, but to go out and do what they are interested in.

"If you plan on seeking a certain occupation, get involved in it," Chong said. "Work in it part time or something like that and find out what it really is.

"A lot of people won't volunteer because of the money, but it gives you the education of what you want to do."

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